Skip to main content

To: The Williamstown Select Board and Town Manager

No Williamstown Police Budget Increase!

No Williamstown Police Budget Increase!

The Williamstown Police Budget is currently upwards of $1.19 million. The planned budget for the 2021 fiscal year pushes even farther, increasing funding by 50,000 dollars more. All of this is on top of the over three hundred thousand dollars the town pays back in loans every year due to a 5 million dollar police station built in 2019.

First of all, we are demanding that the Williamstown Town Manager, Jason Hoch, follow in the footsteps of communities across the nation and disallow the finance committee’s proposed 50K police budget increase, freezing the 2021 police budget at 2020 levels. To that end, he must act to cut the proposed July and August FY21 police operating budgets by 4.26% to match previous levels. In the event that he ignores these demands, we are demanding that the Select Board sign on and agree to withhold budget increases and pressure their superior, Jason Hoch, to do the same.

Second of all, we are demanding that Jason Hoch and the Select Board commit to the demilitarization of the Williamstown police and retraction of all weapons and gear from the department that expand past the bare necessity of what is needed for minor traffic violations.

Right now, the case to defund the police is stronger than ever. Towns across the nation, including here in Western Mass, are revisiting their budgets and law enforcement policy. If the Select Board is truly in support of black lives, it will recognize that the police system in our community needs to change. Rejecting the budget expansion will put the Board on the right side of the Black Lives Matter Movement and show that our community is ready to embrace change and racial equity.

Why is this important?

We need to reinvest in public services for the growth of our community. Our police budget has taken financial priority over education and health services for too long, and the time has come to make sustainable choices in our community.

Over the last few years, the town has had two multi-million dollar building projects: a school that serves hundreds of students and faculty, and a police station that holds only about a dozen officers. The new Mount Greylock School building came after years of struggle, with community petitions and mobilization finally compelling those in power to take the interests of the town at heart. The building of the police station however happened almost overnight and the department continues to operate with very little oversight and almost no transparency. In light of national uprisings against police brutality, the case for reinvestment has never been stronger. It is imperative that the Select Board considers the practical implications of the Black Lives Matter Movement and takes steps to reallocate priorities in our community.

How it will be delivered

Anyone can email the demands of this petition to the Select Board and Town Manager using this link: https://l.linklyhq.com/l/5sFF
The petition as a whole will be delivered at the next Select Board Meeting on July 1st.


Reasons for signing

  • It's heinous that the college acts as if it is dedicated to the support of Black and other minority students and then continues to pour large sums of money into WPD instead of hiring Black profs, Black admin, and funding relevant courses, speakers, etc.
  • It’s the right thing to do!!
  • Towns across the nation need to spend money in ways that actually benefit their citizens not ones which keeps the boot on their necks.

Updates

2020-07-05 20:11:30 -0400

UPDATE: Petition was delivered to Jason Hoch and the Select Board on July 1st at the Board Meeting. Efforts are now underway to meet with Jason Hoch and Anne O'Connor to discuss the content of the pledge below and this petition

2020-07-05 20:10:06 -0400

Link to the Williamstown Youth Abolition Coalition's Defund, Disarm pledge for the Town Manager and Select Board:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1b9Le0W-4UpP0ZSpyRX756DtYaHFLz2xvTqFIBtAP-XQ/edit?usp=sharing

2020-06-26 20:56:48 -0400

Send an email with demands to the Select Board and Town Manager!
https://docs.google.com/document/d/19dyJ4eOCOEuss13EUuGKyqkCT_husLR6ZDR49uEn2hU/edit?usp=sharing

2020-06-23 07:18:26 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-06-22 23:37:30 -0400

UPDATE: Select Board Meeting finished 6/22 at around 9pm
Petition and demands were delivered, yet the board failed to respond.
Next Select Board Meeting- Wednesday, July 1st @ 7pm

2020-06-22 20:57:11 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-06-22 19:10:42 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-06-22 18:29:49 -0400

10 signatures reached